Topic: Corporal Samuel Brown
A soldier of the Great War who died of wounds received during the attack at Passchendaele.
Corporal Samuel Brown - 6/2954
Samuel was born 3rd December 1893 in Londonerry, Ireland, son of Thomas and Martha Jane Brown. With twin brother Robert he had eight nine brothers and four sisters. In 1901 he was living in Foreglen, Londonderry in the house of his Grandfather Thomas, a farmer. In 1911 he is living with his father, who seems to have inherited the farm. It is unclear when Samuel came to New Zealand but at the time of enlistment in 1915, he was working as a farm hand for William Cooper at Killinchy. He was 5ft 5in tall with a medium complexion, grey eyes and dark brown hair. He also had a small scar above his left eyebrow.
Samuel enlisted on 12 June 1915 and was assigned to the 7th Reinforcements, Canterbury Infantry Battalion. He embarked on 9th October 1915 from wellington for Suez arriving on 18th November 1915. He joined his battalion at Ismailia on 4th February 1916 and after training he embarked on the Franconia from Port Said for France on 6th May. He was sent to hospital “sick” from the field on 21st June but it must have been minor as he re-joined his unit 5 days later. Hopwever he was not so lucky next time and he was wounded on 27th Sept 1916 and admitted to No 5 General Hospital at Rouen with a penetrating wound to his face and nose. He was sent to England on board a hospital ship on 29th and admitted to the 3rd General Hospital in Oxford the next day. A month later he was released to the depot at Codford on 1st November 1916, then on to Sling on 4th December. From there he joined his Battalion in France on 16 January 1917. He was appointed temporary Lance Corporal a number of times throughout 1917, usually to substitute for another NCO. He was wounded in action on 12th October during the Passchendaele attack and taken by field ambulance to the 17th Casualty Clearing station the next day. He died there on 21stOctober of wounds to his abdomen and left knee, aged 23. Sadly, a contaminated abdominal wound would have become infected and in the days before antibiotics there would have been little treatment. He was buried in the Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Poperinge. In New Zealand he is remembered on the Leeston Plaque of the Ellesmere County War Memorial. Samuel is also remembered in his homeland on the World War 1 Plaque in Banagher Presbyterian Church, Feeny, Londonderry, Northern Ireland, the Church he worshipped in prior to his emigration as a young man.
Shortly after news arrived of his death, his family placed the following tribute in a Londonderry newspaper:
'Not dead to us, we love him still, Not lost, but gone before; He lives with us in memory, And will for evermore.'
During the First World War, the village of Lijssenthoek was situated on the main communication line between the allied military bases in the rear and the Ypres battlefields. Close to the front, but out of the extreme range of most German field artillery, it became a natural place to establish casualty clearing stations. The cemetery was first used by the French 15th Hopital D'Evacuation and in June 1915, it began to be used by casualty clearing stations of the Commonwealth forces. From April to August 1918, the casualty clearing stations fell back before the German advance and field ambulances (including a French ambulance) took their places. The cemetery contains 9,901 commonwealth burials of the First World War and 883 war graves of other nationalities, mostly French and German. The only concentration burials are 24 added to plot xxxi in 1920 from isolated positions near Poperinghe and 17 added to plot xxxii from St. Denijs churchyard in 1981. It is the second largest Commonwealth cemetery in Belgium. There are 8 special memorial headstones to men known to be buried in this cemetery, these are located together alongside plot 32 near the Stone of Remembrance. The cemetery was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.